I am just back from the North State Building Industry Association annual forecast at the downtown Hyatt in Sacramento. It was a fairly glum affair without a lot of news that could be called good. The consensus is for a lot more of what they're already dealing with, a prolonged slump that is making it hard to survive as family-owned and corporate businesses.
But there was another undertone about the industry getting religion about going green.
Jeff Mezger, CEO of Los Angeles-based giant, KB Home, told 250 people attending that he's gone public about the necessity of green building "after years of having my head in the sand."
"We're going to be a leading company focused on sustainabiilty," he said. Among other things, he noted a deal with Sherwin Williams paint manufacturer to use low volatile organic compound paint in all of KB's homes next year.
Tim Lewis, owner of Tim Lewis Communities of Roseville, said his eighth grade daughter was reading former vice president Al Gore's book about the environment and global warming - and he also read its first 100 pages. Lewis has made solar panels standard fare for many of his new homes.
Later, Folsom building industry consultant Greg Paquin confessed he, too, has come around after years being late to the party. He said he has been reading author Tom Friedman's book "Hot, Flat and Crowded."
"I believe in 10 years you won't be able to sell a home unless it's green," he said.
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